Jeremy Corbyn is a backbencher Labour MP who was elected to Islington North in 1983. He has won every election in his constituency since then: he’s been in Parliament for 32 years. Most MPs have to travel back to their constituency at the weekends and somehow make time for a family life: MPs in a London constituency have more time to go to meetings and events. Jeremy Corbyn has been, everyone says, a very active MP. So how many people has he met in 32 years as an MP?
Without knowledge of Corbyn’s desk diary over the past thirty-two years, it is impossible to say, but, as a low-ball speculation, if Corbyn had been invited to speak at thirty events each year, where he was on a panel to speak with at least three other people, with an audience of fifty or so, over thirty-two years he would have been on the same panel as 2880 people, and 48,000 people could say “I was at such-and-such an event with Jeremy Corbyn”. That is an intentionally low guess: I think it likely, especially as Corbyn became known as a left-wing MP who consistently opposed the Iraq war, that he would have been invited to far more events than a mere thirty a year: and certainly many Stop The War events in London had audiences of far more than 50.
The third part of this debunk deals with Mensch’s assertion that if out of the thousands of people Corbyn has met in the course of his work as an MP, even two are anti-Semitic, Corbyn must himself be tainted by association with those two and needs to explain himself.
The Labour leadership frontrunner, Jeremy Corbyn, has been a long-term supporter of the Palestinian justice movement. He could not possibly have known the personal backgrounds of every individual who has joined him at the many rallies he has attended over the years. Some of these people were antisemitic. And while the vast majority of people involved in the movement are – like myself – driven by a passionate support for self-determination, there is a minority that indulges antisemitic tropes. These ideas have to be defeated.
“Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, you.
“While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate.” – Gene Robinson, November 2010
Pope Leo IX of the Roman Catholic church imposed a ban on married clergy in 1039 which was only slightly relaxed in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not allow a marriage after ordination, but a married man may be ordained as a priest – though to be consecrated as a bishop, a priest must be unmarried or a widower. But in the Anglican Communion, created by Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer, there is no ban on marriage for priest, bishop, or archbishop – which was the reason for Pope Benedict’s 2009 relaxation, to let married Anglican priests who wanted to leave the Church of England for the Catholic Church.
In the 1950s, an old hillbilly preacher invited Jordan to come and speak at his church in rural South Carolina. Jordan arrived to find, to his surprise, a large, thriving and racially integrated congregation — a remarkable thing in that time and place. (Sadly, it’s actually a remarkable thing in any time or place.) So Clarence asked the man how this came about. Continue reading →
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
In 1787, when the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, good guns that could be held and used by a single fighter were still handmade, expensively-crafted things: a soldier could (perhaps) load and fire his musket three times a minute, but rifling (which allows more accurate aim) was known but not practical for army use. The “right to keep and bear arms” would as likely have referred to a sword or a pike as a gun. If the US had remained a string of small countries along the east coast of North America, it would certainly have made sense for them to do as the Swiss have done, and require every able-bodied adult man to be a soldier.
Switzerland allows any citizen (or indeed law-abiding resident) to have a gun if they want one: but the gun must be licensed. Further applications for gun licenses may be granted on request, each for a specific gun. Virtually every adult man attends regular annual training sessions, and holds a military rifle and ammunition under seal – which he is not allowed to use without specific orders and must keep in a safe place so that no one else can use it. If the US resembled Switzerland, insistance that the Second Amendment mattered terribly much would make sense.
There are a lot of differences between the US and Switzerland. Switzerland has four official languages: the US has none. The Swiss Confederation was founded on 1st August 1291, making it nearly 480 years older than the US. The US shares land borders now only with Mexico and Canada: Switzerland shares land borders with France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein. Switzerland has fought no wars of aggression in its over-800 years: the US has fought more wars of aggression in the past century than any other nation in the world. Switzerland founded the Red Cross: the US founded Guantanamo Bay. Neither the US nor Switzerland are members of the EU. And they both like guns.
But whereas Switzerland likes guns if controlled, licenced, and regulated, in the US for decades political lobbyists have been getting the Second Amendment redefined not to mean “every citizen has the right to bear arms in a well-regulated militia”, which is its common-sense interpretation, but to mean “Everyone should buy own as many guns as possible!” Continue reading →
A few years ago, when I was on holiday in Belgium, I spent hours in churches. (The friend I travelled with, who hadn’t voluntarily been in a church in decades, and who knew I am an atheist, was worried I would catch Christianity.) What I wanted to see was the paintings. The invention of oil paint meant Lowlands painters could create pictures so finely detailed it is possible to see the weave in the carpet and the stitches in the embroidered clothing: pictures from five or six hundred years ago that glow from the canvas.
And over and over again, pictures of Mary. Mary as a baby, with Anna her mother: Anna and Joachim, Mary’s father, together: Mary saying “Fiat” to the angel: Mary as a young woman, as a mother with a preposterously large infant on her knee, Mary being carried into heaven by a troop of angels on her death. Mary is supposed to have been conceived on 8th December, and on that date in 2009, The US Senate rejected by a narrow margin an amendment proposed by Senators Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that was intended to modify “Obamacare” so that any private insurance company that got federal funding for Obamacare insurance, couldn’t offer health insurance plans that included abortion. Continue reading →
Are you being sued for doing something you believe is right?
One of the basic rules of deciding whether it’s worth taking the case to court instead of settling out of court with apologies: is the Christian Institute offering to pay your legal fees? If so, then you know two things in advance: you will lose, and you will become a kind of public figurehead for whatever campaign the Christian Institute are running. Unwinnable cases are a form of advertising.
One of the basic rules of running an inn, a hotel, a guesthouse, or even a B&B, is that if the lodgings are available, the host can’t turn people away based on their own prejudices. That’s tolerance: active, practical, and kind. Continue reading →
Doctor Gregory House: “Those aren’t bruises. They’re mycobacterial lesions. She has diffuse lepromatous leprosy. Must have caught it on one of her overseas estrogen tours. Chemo wipes out some of the bacteria, she feels a little better. Wipes out most of her immune system, she gets a whole lot worse.”
Patient-of-the-Week: “Leprosy? Like where my limbs fall off?”
House: “Actually, this is the flattering one. It’s also known as “pretty leprosy.” It doesn’t disfigure, it makes your skin look younger, smoother. Don’t let the girls hear. They’ll all want to lick your face. Unless you’re that kind of feminist. [to Taub and Thirteen] Blast her with antibiotics and prednisone. She’ll be fine.”
Lepers. Lesbians. Who can tell the difference, really?